TitleBusiness Education and Its Relationship to Student Personal Moral Philosophies and Attitudes Toward Profits: An Empirical Response to Critics
Publication TypeJournal Articles
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsNeubaum, D, Pagell, M, Drexler, J, Ryan, FMcKee, Larson, E
JournalAcademy of Management Learning and Education
Date Published2009
KeywordsManagement, Strategy & Entrepreneurship

Critics of business education (e.g., Ghoshal, 2005; Mitroff, 2004) place much of the blame for recent ethical scandals on the lack of moral development of managers and the amoral, "profits-first" theoretical underpinnings of business education. To empirically test these claims, we surveyed 1,080 business and nonbusiness students from a major research university. The results suggest that neither the personal moral philosophies of business and nonbusiness students, nor the personal moral philosophies of business freshmen and business seniors differed significantly. Based on our results, we found no evidence to support the claims of critics who suggest business education is associated with negative personal moral philosophies of students. Further, the attitudes of business freshmen and business seniors concerning profit and sustainability differed significantly, yet in the direction opposite the one Ghoshal (2005) and others would have predicted. Thus, blaming the rash of ethical scandals on the amoral and "profits-first" theoretical underpinnings of business school training might be too simplistic of an approach.